If a recent report is accurate, moreover, if nothing is lost in translation, it appears disgruntled forward Jesse Puljujarvi might be open to a return to the Edmonton Oilers.
According to a Finnish news site, Puljujarvi noted that he’s rethinking things and the translated conversation suggests, “Jesse Puljujärvi’s position on a possible return of the Oilers has softened: ‘Never say never’”.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal appears to be the first to have discovered the post and admits that the translation may suggest there’s potentially more information required, but there’s enough here that the Oilers might want to give Puljuarvi’s rep a call.
The post itself is behind a paywall and I can’t figure out how to read it in full, but Oilers fan and Puljujarvi follower Mari Lönnberg gives this account on Twitter: “Puljujärvi repeating his stance ‘never say never’ when asked if returning to Oilers is possible. He says though that everything is open now and he hasn’t set any time lines for the decision. Playing with Kärpät is also an option for the next season.”
The Oilers and Puljujarvi’s History
Puljujarvi left the Oilers last offseason when the team and the restricted free agent couldn’t come to an agreement. Instead of being pressured into a trade, Oilers general manager Ken Holland was patient, prepared to lose the player to International hockey. That’s what happened as Puljujarvi took off for the Finnish league and scored 53 points in 56 games.
All the while, rumors were that Puljujarvi was happy and still not ready to forgive the Oilers for what was reportedly unfair playing time and opportunity. He kept firm on the idea he’d simply stay in Finland.
While Puljujarvi has also said he could return to Karpat next season, what he may be realizing now, is that his hard stance isn’t going to win him back an opportunity in the NHL. The Oilers own his rights and if he’s to return, he’ll need to be either traded or join the team. What the Oilers actually want now after a successful season is unclear.
Would it make the most sense to open the door to Puljujarvi and a return to the team? There were a few players who weren’t pleased with the way he left. There have also been players who have stepped up in his absence — Kailer Yamamoto to name one. On the other hand, could Edmonton use a bigger player with speed, a good shot and first-round skill?
Again, it’s hard to know if the report accurately reflects Puljujarvi really being open to mending fences with the Oilers, but it is assumed a lot more will be revealed over the next 24-48 hours.